Many of us love watching the critters in our backyards. Birds, butterflies, squirrels, frogs, and lizards all depend on certain plants for survival. When selecting plants for our landscape, we can choose plants that are not only beautiful but provide food or shelter for wildlife. Some animals rely on fruiting plants for food. Others feed on the seeds of plants.
Native plants are plants that originate from the area they are found. In other words, plants that are native to Florida are originally from Florida. Wildlife in your backyard have adapted to these plants over many years. By adding a few of these plants, you are supporting the animals who lived in Florida long before we moved in!
Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds to your yard, but commercial bird seed is like a snack for birds. It attracts them to your yard, but native plants support all their needs. These plants provide food, shelter, and nesting sites. Once planted, they continue to provide food and shelter for years! Also, bird feeders can harbor dangerous bacteria and mold that kill birds. Even if cleaned properly, our warm, humid environment is a breeding ground for diseases. If you do have feeders, be sure to clean them every two weeks with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). Hummingbird feeders should not be cleaned with bleach. Instead, use warm water or a weak vinegar solution.
Some plants that provide habitat for wildlife include Beautyberry, Buttonbush, Firebush, Dahoon Holly, Southern Magnolia, Saw Palmetto, and many more!
For more information and wildlife plants lists, check out https://www.fnps.org/plants/wildlife. Click on the different wildlife you want to support. You’ll get a list of plants that are both beautiful and help our environment!